Category Archives: Hotels

The Luxor: Ancient Egypt in Las Vegas

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Luxor Lobby

The Luxor lobby and check-in desks

As I mentioned when I first returned from my October trip to Las Vegas, I was pleasantly surprised by my stay at the Luxor. I had heard nothing but negative reviews about the hotel for years, so I expected it to be a dump. It wasn’t. In fact, I would stay here again for a number of reasons.

I think the front desk agent at the Luxor who checked me in and switched me from a Pyramid room to a Tower room did me a huge favor. Most of the negative reviews I’ve heard from people staying at Luxor were from people who stayed in the Pyramid (which is older). I was happy with my Tower room. (Though I would have liked the opportunity to ride the Inclinator at least once.)

When I first assessed the noise situation in my room, I thought I was screwed. I had room 3218 in the Tower, on the Third Floor above one of the entrances (facing Excalibur). There was also a connecting door to the room next to me. (I hate when my room has a connecting door. You might as well force me to share my room with the people next door, because it sounds like they’re in my room anyway.) Continue reading

A Sneak Peek at Downtown Grand’s Restaurants

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Downtown Las Vegas (mostly Fremont Street) has always been a great place to go for cheap gambling, food and drinks. Its nightly “block party” vibe appeals to many of us. And it’s just neat to see what old Vegas looked like, with casinos set right next to each other, easy to walk in and out of–in contrast to the Strip, where going to the resort “next door” can still result in a very long walk.

But for many years, it was difficult to convince other tourists that they should pry themselves away from the Strip for so much as an evening to go Downtown and see “classic Vegas”. I have a feeling that’s going to change very soon, and in fact, it already has for many of us. There are so many exciting things happening down there now–the new Mob Museum, the nearby Smith Center, the renovations at the D Las Vegas (formerly Fitzgeralds) and the Golden Gate, new bars up and down Fremont Street, the zipline, and now, the expansion of tourist-friendly offerings beyond Fremont Street–where tourists formerly feared to tread.

The D Las Vegas

The D Las Vegas

Recently, Fifth Street Gaming hosted a group of Vegas bloggers including me at the Mob Bar for a sneak peek at the new Downtown Grand. The Downtown Grand, opening later this year, will be located on the site of the former Lady Luck on 3rd Street between Stewart and Ogden. This resort is part of Fifth Street Gaming’s four-block Downtown3rd Redevelopment Project. Continue reading

How Green Do You Want It?

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Mandalay Bay announced this week its plans to build the second largest rooftop solar array in the country by 2014. The solar array will provide the hotel with about 20% of its energy needs. With the many days of sunshine that Las Vegas sees every year, it makes sense to tap into that free resource if possible. There is an upfront cost, of course, but it will pay for itself over time. It’s also a very “green” thing to do. So it’s a win-win for the hotel’s bottom line and its environmental reputation.

Mandalay Bay

Don’t underestimate the goodwill an environmental reputation can generate. I know I think more highly of hotels I know are trying to conserve resources and be environmental. Things like pumps in the shower that dispense shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel are far better for the environment than the little containers of toiletries that most hotels hand out. (Those containers wind up in landfills, after all.) Hotels with motion-sensor lights in the hallways save energy. So do rooms with keycard-activation for lights and air conditioning so energy isn’t being wasted while the room is unoccupied.

But how many people really care if their hotel is environmentally friendly or not? And how deep do those feelings run? How green do you want your hotel to be? And how green do you want it to be if it’s inconvenient or means changing your own behavior? Continue reading

The Golden Gate: A Little History in Downtown Las Vegas

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Who says Las Vegas is too young to be of interest to history buffs?

The Golden Gate Casino & Hotel will turn 107 in November of this year. That’s like 441 years old in dog years or a 1,000 years old in Vegas years. I mean, people describe hotels that are 20 years old as “old,” “aged,” “faded” and other negative adjectives. When you consider the many implosions that have taken down historic hotels in this city and replaced them with shiny new behemoths, it is mind-boggling that anything has lasted 107 years.

Golden Gate Hotel

How does something that old survive in Las Vegas? With a mix of embracing its history and adapting to the times, apparently. (Inexpensive prices don’t hurt, either.) Continue reading

Las Vegas Resort Fee Amenities That I’d Pay For

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Regular Las Vegas visitors have spent the past few months all a-twitter (as opposed to all a-Twitter) over the fact that more and more Vegas hotels are adding resort fees. You know what this means: That awesome, low price they advertise online ends up not being such a low price once they add on an extra $15-35 per night in “resort fees”. And by the way, these resort fees don’t show up in your quoted total when you book your resort, the way taxes do. You don’t see it until you get to the hotel.

Which, of course, is why consumers despise resort fees. We just want to know, before we book, how much our stay is going to cost us. Is that so much to ask? But hotels and resorts seem bound and determined not to tell us that upfront.

The Mirage

So if you want to book the best deal, you have to do the math yourself: Take the price they list, add on however much the tax rate is (currently in Las Vegas it’s 12%-13%, depending on where you’re staying), and then add on however much the resort fee is (you can find a current listing of resort fees at Top 10 Vegas.) As you can see, there are precious few hotels left in Las Vegas that don’t charge resort fees. Continue reading